Employees Want a 4-Day Workweek: How to Identify if It’s Possible

4-day-workweekAre your employees eager to transition to a 4-day workweek? They’re not the only ones. In fact, 78% of workers state that a more flexible job would allow them to live a healthier life.

As the world continues to shift toward hybrid and flexible work models, companies must learn how to navigate these transitions so they can keep their employees happy and healthy.

But, as with any company transition, finding your bearings can be difficult if you don’t have a strategy in place. By taking the time to carefully analyze your current operational framework, you can discover if a 4-day workweek is feasible for your team.

And luckily, we’ve got the exact steps you need to do just that.

In today’s article, we’ll walk you through how to identify if a 4-day workweek is possible for your company. We’ll also share five ways to make the most of a 4-day workweek if you decide it’s the right move for your company.

Ready to learn more?

Let’s begin.

3 simple steps to discover if a 4-day workweek is right for you

Here’s how to determine if a 4-day workweek is possible for your team:

1. Outline your team responsibilities and daily operations

To discover if a 4-day workweek is possible, you need to get a grip on what your current responsibilities and operational procedures look like.

So, start by outlining all your businesses responsibilities and each teams’ daily operations. Be sure to also outline any weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks.

For instance, if you run a project management company, then your responsibilities might include:

  • Processing work orders
  • Conducting client outreach
  • Managing client accounts
  • Stakeholder management
  • Project timeline planning and implementation
  • Budget management
  • Team and project check-ins
  • Project milestone management planning
  • Project submission and client review meetings

Next, outline your complete operational framework for each responsibility on your list. Be sure to also include who’s responsible for each task.

Here’s an example of what that might look like for the “processing work orders” responsibility:

  • 8am to 9am: Project assistants open their project management platform and filter through work order requests
  • 9am to 12pm: Project assistants accept or decline work order requests
  • 12pm to 1pm: Lunch break
  • 1pm to 4pm: Project assistants create project briefs for each work order
  • 3pm to 5pm: Project assistants submit project briefs to dedicated account managers
2. Review your established time blocks, schedules, and deadlines

After you outline the complete operational framework for each responsibility on your list, be sure to analyze related time blocks, schedules, and deadlines.

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For instance, in the example we showed above, processing work orders currently requires nine hours of company time a day — or 45 hours per week.

To help keep this process organized, create a time list that displays your responsibility on the left and the weekly time it takes your team to complete it on the right. Be sure to also include how many employees are required for each task

Here’s an example of what that might look like:

  • Processing work orders: 45 hours per week, 3 project assistants
  • Conducting client outreach: 100 hours per week, 9 sales reps
  • Managing client accounts: 160 hours per week, 5 account managers
  • Stakeholder management: 30 hours per week, 2 project leads and 6 employees
  • Project timeline planning and implementation: 150 hours per week, 5 project managers and 4 project leads
  • Budget management: 30 hours per week, 3 project leads and 2 accountants
  • Team and project check-ins: 20 hours per week, 2 project leads
  • Project milestone review: 50 hours per week, 10 employees and 2 project leads
  • Project submission and client review meetings: 30 hours per week, 3 project managers
3. Rearrange your current workflow to fit into a 4-day workweek, then test your new setup 

Here’s the step that requires a bit more creativity and thought.

In step three, you’ll need to rearrange your current workflow so that it can fit into a 4-day workweek. Then, you’ll need to test your new workflow before you can plan the official implementation.

To do this, simply divide the number of hours it takes to complete each responsibility by four.

For instance, if managing client accounts takes you 160 hours per week, then your team is currently putting in 32 hours a day, five days a week. If you divide 160 by four, then your team will put in 40 hours per day, four days a week.

Broken up by employee, it’d look like this:

If you have five account managers completing 40 hours of work Monday through Thursday, then each one would need to work eight hours a day to stay on track.

If eight hours a day is feasible, then success! This task can be switched to a 4-day workweek. But, if eight hours a day isn’t possible with your current staff load, then you’ll need to either:

  • Hire additional staff to fill in the gaps
  • Or, keep this particular task at 5-days a week

Continue doing the math for each responsibility on your list until you have a complete understanding of which tasks can be switched to a 4-day workweek with your current staff load.

After you’re done, you’ll need to consider which tasks you’re willing to hire additional staff like virtual assistants for and if you’d like to keep any tasks at five days a week.

Next, conduct your test run. Be sure to train your team on what their new schedules and responsibilities will look like during the trial run so they can show up prepared.

After you’ve tested your new approach, review any roadblocks you’ve experienced that have hindered your team’s success toward moving to a 4-day workweek. Then, brainstorm solutions for each one, together.

Finally, keep testing, refining, and repeating this process until you’ve designed a 4-day workflow that runs with ease.

5 keys to make the most of your 4-day workweek

Transitioning to a new operating framework can feel overwhelming at best. But with a few solid approaches up your sleeve, you can create a thriving 4-day workweek.

Here’s how:

1. Go remote or hybrid if you haven’t already

Limit distractions and encourage employee focus by implementing a remote or hybrid approach.

By properly provisioning access for employees, you can ensure they have access to all of the tools they need to work, no matter where they are.

2. Complete your top priorities and tasks at the beginning of the week

Prevent company bottlenecks and keep your work on track by taking care of your most important responsibilities Mondays through Wednesdays. Save team meetings, planning, and general housekeeping tasks for Thursdays.

3. Share time management resources and train your employees on how to use them

Sign up for time management resources, such as time trackers, calendar management tools, and timeline planners and train your employees how to make the most of them.

To really drive this home, we recommend hosting a formal training session and hands-on workshop so your team can advance their time management skills together.

4. Omit any unnecessary tasks 

Go through every micro task on your list and see which ones can be striked from your to-dos. You can also meet with your employees one-on-one or in teams to brainstorm which tasks should be omitted.

To make the most of this tip, we also recommend strategizing ways to make your current tasks more efficient. For instance, you may find a software tool that can help complete tasks quicker, or you might find ways to create shortcuts for each task on your list. Whenever possible, aim for the quickest, simplest process, but never sacrifice quality or company values to do so.

5. Automate as much as you can 

If any aspect of your new workflow feels like Groundhog’s day, that’s a good indication that you have plenty of repeating tasks you may be able to automate.

Whether it’s setting up automated invoices, deadline reminders, or company alerts, run through each responsibility on your list to see which tasks can be automated. Then, automate, automate, automate. Using tools to optimize your time is also important. This can include video conferencing apps, transcription tools, or even meeting notes-taking apps.

Wrap up

Switching to a 4-day workweek is absolutely possible with the right strategy and plan in place.

If you’ve been interested in taking the leap, we hope today’s article has given you the insight you need to make the transition.

For good measure, here’s a quick summary of the steps we shared today:

  1. Outline your team responsibilities and daily operations
  2. Review your established time blocks, schedules, and deadlines
  3. Rearrange your current workflow to fit into a 4-day workweek and test your new setup

And here’s a quick recap of the tips we shared today:

  1. Go remote or hybrid if you haven’t already
  2. Complete your top priorities and tasks at the beginning of the week
  3. Share time management resources and train your employees on how to use them
  4. Omit any unnecessary tasks
  5. Automate as much as you can

To your success!

About the author

Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She’s also an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and ecommerce startups.

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